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Using a conventional depth sounder/sonar to "look" forward probably won't work in all but the calmest conditions (if then). The sounder will simply "see" any bubbles produced by surface chop and report those as the closest target. Most sounders don't really "look" in two dimensions, irrespective of what their displays indicate. They simply report the nearest return at the beginning of the "scroll". If the return is weak, and there is a stronger return from a greater depth, it will look like fish (either a fish symbol, or a "boomerang" trace). If you point one of these units forward, the display will almost certainly have so many returns from surface bubbles (i.e., so much noise) that it will be essentially "blind" to anything solid.
One demonstration of this is to look at your depth sounder in really rough water. Often times a sounder (mounted in the proper, vertical, orientation) on a small boat will intermittently display "zero" depth (or a least a very shallow depth), and the scrolling display will look like garbage. This is from the bubbles of particularly big waves passing under the boat. One can often eliminate much or most of the problem by playing with the gain and various other filters (if the unit has them) in these situations. But, if the same sounder were oriented forward there would be many more returns from an essentially infinite rage of distances, making it virtually impossible for the unit's software to differentiate any "real" targets.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 08-11-2011 at 04:10 PM.